The Creative Compositions Project explores the process and effects of composition, whether generating fiction, poetry, song lyrics or music, examining differences and similarities between these various creative media and the impact of engagement with such processes within individual lives and on communities. In partnership with the Department of Education, the Project initiates, collaborates with and studies a number of ongoing and forthcoming compositional activities, including those listed below, focussing on the features of compositional practice, the elements of composition derived from their own research practice as writers/composers/lyricists, the experience of composition for workshop/project-leaders and participants, and the implications and possible benefits of engaging in composition for all participants and for their wider environment.
Creative Writing Workshops: a series of these led by women writers (Dr Helen Lynch, poet Dr Jen Cooper and short fiction writer and researcher on memory and trauma, Emily Utter) in a safe space at Aberdeen Rape and Abuse Support Centre.
Creative Writing workshops with practising medics and medical students centred round the notion of Ageing, and a series of workshops for older people, early stage dementia sufferers in association with The Centre for the Medical Humanities, Memory Clinic, Tillydrone (Dr Helen Lynch, Dr Olive Ritch, Dr Catherine Jones, Dr Leeanne Bodkin)
Poetry and short story workshops with North-east writers’ groups and schools in Aberdeen, Banff, Nairn and Elgin (Dr Wayne Price)
Collective Compositions: working with musical performers who have migrated to Aberdeen, to generate collaborative pieces and performances (co-ordinated by Simon Gall, Salsa Celtica, Shmu FM, Youth Development, Tillydrone; funded by Creative Scotland 2014-15).
Song-writing and musical composition workshops with adult learners, with school children, and with young adults at Aberdeen Foyer, through the Scottish Culture and Traditions Asociation’s Increased Accessibility Project (Aberdeen City Council Cultural Award 2014-15 and 2015-16) Sing Aberdeen and The Aberdeen Collection Project (Vibrant Aberdeen 2014-15 and 2015-16), and Stonehaven Public Arts. (Aberdeenshire Public Arts Fund 2015).
Publications and other output associated with this project so far include: The Aberdeen Collection (Aberdeen University Press, 2017), A Puckle o Sangs (AUP, 2015), Collective Compositions Showcase (Lemon Tree, 2015) CD and short film (2015), Impact of Culture, film by Flixvideo for Aberdeen City Council focussing on SC&T’s Assisted Places participants and Increased Accessibility project, 2015; Verbal Remedies, Creative Writing by Medical Students (The Centre for the Medical Humanities, published for The Global Medical Humanities Conference 2012 and 2016). There are possibilities for future collaborations, publications and performances as the project evolves. The Centre is currently developing further partnerships with Aberdeen Performing Arts’ CONNECT Project (a performance and composition initiative with Aidan O’Rourke and Jason Singhe), Youth Arts Collective North-East, and Associate Fellow and Centre graduate, Shane Strachan in his new role as Creative Learning Co-Ordinator for Aberdeen City Council.
Publications since June 2012 ( Update in progress: 2019)
In partnership with RIISS, the Centre has played a key editorial role in the production of Causeway/Cabshair, a journal of new Irish and Scottish writing, in all the languages of both countries. There have been eight issues since 2012, the most recent, coinciding with the WORD Centre’s strand in the Aberdeen University May Festival 2015, included work by Iain Banks, Gillian Clark, Michel Faber, Xiaolu Guo, Kathleen Jamie, Liz Lochead, David Mitchell, and Alan Spence.
No Nothing (AUP: 2015): this was the publication of Alan Spence’s play to meet public demand at performances at Oran Mor Theatre, Glasgow and The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen, commissioned and funded by A Play, a Pie and a Pint (Creative Scotland).The entire first print run of 200 sold out immedieately, and the volume has been reprinted. The writing of the play arose out of the Centre’s collaboration with Aberdeen Performing Arts in programming the Culture Cafe series (see Events below), including the WORD in May events (in line with the Centre’s aim of mainitaing the WORD Festival brand and profile within the University’s public engagement and impact provision).
Passages (Edition Vulpes, 2015), an anthology of new writing in Scots, Doric, English, German and Bavarian arising out of the Write Aberdeen-Write Regenbsburg project, in partnership with and funded by Aberdeen City Council. Designed to celebrate sixty years of twinning between the two cities, the project centred on a writing competition judged by the Centre’s Helen Lynch and Wayne Price, and organised by Associate Fellow and graduate student, Shane Strachan, who also edited the volume.
The Reed Bunting Unseen: A Camouflage Garden for Ian Hamilton Finlay (Wildhoney Press: 2014), David Wheatley, and Some Colour Trends (Deveron Arts, 2015), David Wheatley and Alec Finlay. These two poetry volumes grow out of David Wheatley’s work on ’Writing and Place’ as part of the Centre-co-ordinated post-graduate and undergraduate teaching provision. They also form part of the ongoing and developing Mapping the North-East project (see above).
Sheena Blackhall, esteemed local poet and North-East Makar, writing extensively in Scots, Doric and English, was celebrated with the publication of The Space Between: New and Selected Poems ed. Alan Spence (AUP, 2014).
For more publications associated with the Centre’s two major, ongoing projects, Mapping the North-East and Creative Compositions, see Research Strategy above.